European stock markets and Wall Street futures rose Friday after better
than expected figures for U.S. retail sales and eurozone industrial
production helped ease concerns about the pace of economic recovery.
A settlement that could pay up to $657.5 million to more than 10,000
ground zero rescue and recovery workers sickened by dust from the
destroyed World Trade Center goes before a judge Friday, and he has
said he favored a settlement but planned to analyze it carefully to
make sure it was fair.
The head of the Health and Human Services Department is sketching out a
stark choice for the nation's insurers: oppose reform and eventually
lose customers, or work with the Obama administration to improve the
Businesses likely increased inventories by a small amount in January, responding to a strong gain in their sales.
Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect inventories at the
wholesale level rose by 0.2 percent in January with sales rising by a
stronger 0.7 percent. The Commerce Department will release the new
report at 10 a.m. EST Wednesday.
Stirring memories of his campaign for the White House, President Barack
Obama made a spirited, shirt-sleeved appeal for passage of long-stalled
health care changes Monday as Democratic congressional leaders worked
behind the scenes on legislation they hope can quickly gain passage.
Legislation extending unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless
faces a key test vote in the Senate, its momentum helped by about 60
popular tax breaks for individuals and businesses that expired at the
end of last year.
U.S. consumers are starting to look like a frugal, debt-fearing lot as
they pay down billions of dollars in credit-card obligations. But an
alarming trend is emerging: A small but growing number of people are
skipping mortgage payments in favor of paying their credit-card bills.
Hispanic and black businesses are receiving a disproportionately small
number of federal stimulus contracts, creating a rising chorus of
demands for the Obama administration to be more inclusive and more
closely track who receives government-financed work.